If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, it doesn’t mean you are guilty. You can only be found guilty after a trial in which your guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, your criminal defense attorney can get your charge dismissed altogether by introducing evidence that places sufficient doubt about your guilt.
This is not the only way a criminal defense attorney can get your charge dismissed. Much depends on the actual charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, and the amount of evidence prosecutors have, e.g. how much was ‘hearsay’ or circumstantial.
If this is a first time that you have been charged with a criminal offense, you will want to try and get the charge dismissed altogether, or at least any penalties reduced. A criminal conviction can affect you and your family for the rest of your life. All criminal charges may lead to harsh penalties, including jail or prison time.
Establishing a defense strategy
Here are some of the ways that a criminal defense attorney can establish your innocence or prevent you from being convicted apart from the defense already mentioned above.
- You made a genuine mistake
This defense only works for some alleged crimes. It doesn’t mean that you can defend yourself by saying you didn’t know the law. However, let’s say that you borrowed a car from someone but they later accuse you of stealing it, you may be able to claim that you didn’t realize that you weren’t meant to use it.
- Self defense
This a possible defense if you have used non-deadly force or deadly force against someone who is harmed or even killed. If you can convince prosecutors or a jury that you did so in your own self-defense or in the defense of others, then this may be accepted. Alaska’s stand your ground law, like other states, allows someone to use deadly force against an attacker without having to retreat.
- Statute of limitations
Many crimes, especially less serious ones, cannot be tried unless the charge was made within a certain time limit known as the statute of limitations. For example, if you were accused of shoplifting 10 years after it was alleged to have occurred, then this would be dismissed because it is beyond the statute of limitations. There is no such limit for serious felonies like murder,
- You had an alibi
A genuine alibi is proof that you couldn’t have been at the scene of the crime at the time and date alleged.
- Abandonment / Withdrawal
This is a more difficult defense strategy. It relies on the fact that you deliberately stopped or withdrew from going through with a crime before you actually committed it. Typically, this may only normally be used if you were part of a larger group of people who had planned a crime. You may escape a conviction for the alleged crime, but may still face other charges, e.g. conspiracy.
- Unconstitutional actions by police
You are protected from certain aspects of an arrest by the U.S. Constitution, which also applies to state criminal charges. For example, if an arrest has been made after an unconstitutional search of your body or property, such as one without a search warrant, then the arrest may be dismissed.
Also, if you have been interrogated or questioned without your ‘Miranda’ (5th Amendment) rights being read out to you, or your right to seek an attorney (6th Amendment), then again your charge may be dismissed.
If you have been accused of a crime, but believe you are innocent, or elements of the allegation against you are untrue, you should contact criminal defense attorney, Dattan Scott Dattan, as soon as possible. He will vigorously defend your innocence, negotiate a plea bargain or will fight to represent you in court. You can contact the Law Office of Dattan Scott Dattan in Anchorage at 907-276-8008.